Douglas Witmer: All Kinds of Ways to Your Garden, New Paintings, Blank Space, New York, NY

Douglas Witmer, Blank Space, 2013

Douglas Witmer, Love is Natural and Real, 2012
Black gesso and acrylic on canvas
35 x 28 inches

January 17 – March 1, 2013

BLANK SPACE is pleased to present a solo exhibition entitled “All Kinds of Ways to Your Garden” featuring new paintings by Douglas Witmer. In his second exhibition with the gallery, Witmer continues to refine his ongoing investigation of color and surface in abstract painting.

With merely one or two delineated blocks of emphatic color positioned in relation to soft grey grounds, Witmer’s canvases appear stunningly direct and simple upon first glance, but a sustained viewing of the work allows the energy of Witmer’s carefully considered
dualities to manifest. The grey-stained grounds are made by cascading pigment onto a soaking wet surface. Upon closer inspection, the seemingly hard edges of color actually begin to fray where the artist has intentionally allowed paint to bleed “just so” in the taping process. The color blocks overlap subtle and not-so-subtle margins that the artist creates near the outer edges of the canvases.

On one hand, these works evoke certainty and solidity, and perhaps stillness, while on the other hand every element is kept light, actively in play, and up for consideration. Nothing is totally settled. Witmer has said, “enamored as I am of what I perceive to be utter simplicity and perfection in painting, when I have the opportunity for it in my practice, I become restless. At the edge of perfection, I stumble.”

The exhibition’s title: All Kinds of Ways to Your Garden, as well as the paintings’ titles, are snippets of song lyrics that the artist jots down while working in his studio. Witmer says he considers this process of reapplying found words in the context of paintings as a way of “further documenting my emotional experience of the work and also as an emotive invitation from myself to others.”

Based in Philadelphia, Witmer’s work has been exhibited widely in the US and abroad. In 2011, the artist’s debut solo museum exhibition was mounted at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. Other recent venues include: MoMA PS1, and The Painting Center, AxD Gallery (Philadelphia), Some Walls (Oakland, CA), The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, The University of Maryland, The University of Dayton (OH), ParisCONCRET (France), Sydney Non-Objective (Australia), and Bus-Dori Project Space (Tokyo). His work is in public and private collections in the United States, Europe, and Asia.